Every year in the United States, millions of people move from one home to another, and it’s amazing how many of them go smoothly without major issues. The key to this success is in hiring reputable movers.
Even with the great track record of successful moving, you still have to watch out for scams and cheap movers who do not care about the well-being of your personal items. We believe you should be informed and updated on each step of your moving process.
Here are 10 ways to know that you are hiring a reputable moving company:
Don’t let the mover give you a final quote over the phone
A quality moving company will take a look at all of your items and take inventory, and will figure up an estimated weight of your belongings. A thorough job should be done by the estimator, you should see them checking all of your drawers, cabinets, shelves and garage. A large factor in the price of moving is weight and truck space, be sure to ask the mover about anything on the estimate that you do not understand.
Make sure the movers aren’t just glancing around
A moving company that does a quick walkthrough without taking the time to physically view your items will be off on their quoting. A great estimator will talk to you about what you plan on taking from the old place to the new place, asking a lot of questions. Be sure to already know what you plan on taking with you so that you can point those out to them, and also be prepared to let them know which items will not be included in the move.
Large deposits not required
Quality movers will not ask for large deposits before your items arrive at the new place. You should only have to pay upon delivery of your belongings. By paying in advance, there is no control as to when you will be getting your items delivered. We recommend using a credit card to pay for your move, that way any possible fraudulent activity can be reported.
Watch out for switching company names
In order to get around bad Better Business Bureau complaints, some moving companies may go by a different name to avoid social penalties. Make sure that the moving company has a local address, and also check their insurance information. When calling a reputable moving company, make sure they answer the phone with their full business name. You can also find out if a company does business under another name by checking them out on the internet using state or federal databases that give you public information.
Check their references
Ask your family members or friends first before selecting a moving company to see if they can give you a recommendation from first-hand experience. Word of mouth is a great way to find out who is good and not so good. There are associations that can also recommend reliable movers to you, such as American Moving and Storage Association and State Associations of Movers. Just contact someone like them and ask for a list!
Any reputable moving company that you speak with be able to provide you a full list of references. Let them know that you would like for them to provide you with a few references from people in your area from the past few months including name and phone number. You can them call those people to ask about their experience with that moving company. Beware of movers who either does not provide you with references, or provides you with a fraudulent list of references.
Avoid the costs of packing
The movers aren’t generally liable for damage to your items if you pack them yourself. However, having the moving company pack your items for you can be costly. If you use your moving company to do the packing for you, ask them about their packer’s experience in packing. The last thing you want is an inexperience packer quickly throwing your items into a box at the risk of damage.
Ask about additional fees
Are you moving to a multiple story house, or are you moving from one? These are scenarios where you will be charged extra for services that involve stairs and elevators. Also, can they get the moving truck to your place easily? If not, then expect extra charges for transferring your items from a smaller truck to the big truck. Always ask about extra fees when requesting an estimate.
Don’t sign a blank contract
Never…I repeat, never…ever sign a blank moving contract. Make sure everything is in writing. This includes the price of the move, all extra fees, as well as pick-up and delivery dates.
Go over your contract thoroughly making sure all of your belongings are noted. How can you expect your computer to be in the box upon delivery when it isn’t listed on the contract that you signed? In order for you to be able to file a claim, it must be listed on the inventory sheet.
Watch out for “guaranteed” estimates
Here are the three types of moving contracts:
A non-binding estimate on your contract means the company cannot require payment more than 10% above the original estimate. Any overages must by paid within 30 days of delivery.
A non-binding to exceed estimate on your contract insures that you will not have to pay for any overages to the original estimate. The estimate is the maximum you’ll be required to pay for any services rendered.
A binding estimate on your contract is supposed to be a guaranteed price for the move and all extras and services. If you request additional services (such as unpacking), any extra fees must be paid within 30 days of delivery.
Understand valuation protection and insurance
Moving Companies are required to accept liability for the value of items they move. There are two types of insurance liability (Full (Replacement) Value Protection, and Alternative Level of Liability). Take the time to learn about these two different levels of liability, and ask about the prices of each, as well as protection provided by each.